Two guest commentators in a recent media article on the Los Angeles Unified School District’s response to the problem of predatory sexual behavior committed by teachers initially note what they say was the response to child molestation first structured by the Catholic Church and the Los Angeles Archdiocese.
That response was grossly ineffectual and unethical, they say, since it encompassed “merciless attempts to protect abusers rather than victims,” while simultaneously sheltering “a mountain of perpetrators from the public.”
The logical effects of that strategy, note the editorialists, were threefold and highly adverse. For starters, the church ended up paying a far higher amount to victims than it ever envisioned it would. Second, the employed tactics sadly delayed justice for victims and their families, while enabling some perpetrators to continue their heinous activities. And, third, the church suffered “a loss of trust from many parishioners.”
The writers contend that the LAUSD is now treading a similar path, which can only lead to a similarly adverse result. Reportedly, the school district has settled teacher-related sexual abuse cases to the tune of $300 million plus within just the past four years.
And, say the columnists, the district has shamelessly pursued “hardball litigation tactics” aimed at protecting perpetrators and undermining the credibility of victims, who, it must be remembered, are vulnerable children to begin with.
The article argues that a new culture, buttressed by material reforms, is crucially needed to better protect victims, prevent new occurrences of abuse and properly punish wrongdoers.
If a new tack is not taken, the op/ed piece stresses, “Public trust in the leadership of LAUSD will continue to decline.”